Tips for Better Crits
a critique from the dead
Education of an E-Designer
by Steven Heller
WORKED FOR ME
(submitted by Cindy Lowrey, Cleveland, Ohio)
Thumbtacks and beyond
been a while since I've been in the classroom, but I remember critiques
well. The long, painful silences and more stirring in seats than children
in bed on Christmas Eve.
the thumbtack trick
all the time, but my technique was that each student got one thumbtack
and placed it on the piece they thought was working the best. I
like your idea better. If you have time, using two colors & having
a "second look," probably yields more "chosen" pieces.
A trick I used when I didn't want to do all of the talking was the "tag,
you're it!" method:
volunteers (or is picked randomly) to stand up and talk about a
piece. When he/she is finished, other students agree or disagree.
After the discussion, the designer of the piece has to get up and
choose the next one to talk about. They can pick their "favorite"
or "least favorite" as long as they defend their opinion.
I also liked the group method. I split the class into small groups (five
at most) and had them critique each other's work. (I walked around and
listened, commenting only when I thought they were sending a student
in the wrong direction.) If there was time, the group elected the piece
that inspired the most interesting discussion and presented it to the
recommend using this method toward the end of the
semester. You can get some scary results if you do it too early:
the critique becomes an exercise in the blind leading the blind.
If all else failed, I subjected my students to "The List". The list
was used as a guideline for discussion and included things like "hierarchy,"
"reference to the frame," etc. If students couldn't think of anything
to say, they could choose a topic off the list to begin discussion.
matter what I ever did as a teacher, I was always sick of listening
to myself by the end of the semester.
by Cindy Lowrey, Web and Multimedia Designer, Nesnadny + Schwartz,
Cleveland, OH. In a former life Cindy taught Visual Communication
Design at Kent State University. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org